Tom Talbert, a self-taught pianist who arranged music for jazz greats such as Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton and Claude Thornhill, has died. He was 80. Talbert died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center i
Tom Talbert, a self-taught pianist who arranged music for jazz greats such as Buddy Rich, Stan Kenton and Claude Thornhill, has died. He was 80.
Talbert died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a severe stroke, his family said.
Talbert became interested in arranging at age 15 after hearing big bands on the radio. During World War II, he joined the Army and became an arranger for a military band at Ft. Ord that performed for war-bond drives throughout California.
After the war, the native of Crystal Bay, Minn., came to Los Angeles and led his own 14-piece orchestra from 1946-49 and toured with singer Anita O'Day. In 1950, Talbert moved to New York and arranged music for many jazz greats, including Rich, Kenton and Thornhill.
Talbert released two albums in the mid-1950s, "Bix Duke Fats," a modern jazz treatment of compositions by Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller, and "Wednesday's Child" with singer Patty McGovern.
In 1975, he returned to Los Angeles and wrote the soundtracks for such television shows as NBC's "Serpico" and "Emergency." He led a septet and another big band, revived his recording career and performed through the 1990s.
He also established a scholarship for young musicians studying at California State University, Long Beach.
Talbert is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, of Beverly Hills; four stepchildren; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
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